What does it mean to “Stand in Holy Places”?
The Doctrine and Covenants teaches the truth in plainness and simplicity.
Giving a false or misleading meaning to any scripture is condemned by the Lord and could be classified as false doctrine. It is also wrong to give an alternative interpretation to a phrase of scripture, however innocent it may appear to be than that intended by the Lord.
It is important that scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants is not taken out of context? When we take any phrase of scripture out of context we are liable to build error upon error.
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: -
“It is wrong to take one passage of scripture and isolate it from all other teachings dealing with the same subject. We should bring together all that has been said by authority on the question. If we were to make a photograph, it would be necessary for all your rays of light to be properly focused on the subject. If this were not done then a blurred picture would be the result. This is the case when we try to obtain a mental picture when we have only a portion of the facts dealing with the subject we are considering.”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, D.O.S 2:95-96.)
The following quote was used by President Ezra T Benson
“We do not wish incorrect and unsound doctrines to be handed down to posterity under the sanction of great names, to be received and valued by future generations as authentic and reliable…. the interests of posterity are, to a certain extent in our hands. Errors in history and in doctrine if left uncorrected by us who are conversant with the events, and who are in a position to judge the truth or falsity of the doctrines, would go to our children as though we had sanctioned and endorsed them.”
of First presidency page 232. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Daniel Wells.
Quoted by Ezra T. Benson in Church news
Truth in doctrine is of Jesus Christ
Error in doctrine is of the Devil-however innocent it may appear
To remain the pure in heart we need pure doctrine untainted by the teachings of man and the falsehoods of Satan
Where we lack understanding in any doctrine of the gospel we should earnestly seek through study, pondering and prayer for greater enlightenment?
If false or misleading statements on doctrine become apparent in the church we should endeavour to have these corrected, no matter what the source of the error.
It is my personal opinion that the phrase “Stand in Holy Places” is frequently taken out of context in church manuals and sermons. An example of this is found in the: -
After listing the scriptures on the negative signs of the Second Coming, including famines, scourges, sickness, desolation, wars, earthquakes, tempests, great waves of the sea, iniquity will abound, and the whole earth in commotion, etc, the question is asked: -
What does it mean to “stand in holy places”?
The scripture references which include this phrase are given as: -
A further question in the gospel doctrine manual is to be asked of class members: -
“What are some of these holy places?”
The suggested answer to these questions is: -
“They could include our temples, our
chapels, our homes, and the stakes of
An examination of the above scriptures in detail
To obtain the ‘full picture’ and meaning of this phrase “Stand in Holy Places?” let us examine in detail each scripture reference: -
“And there shall be men standing in that generation that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. And there shall be earthquakes also in divers’ places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another. And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled. And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.” 45:31-35
After detailing the great calamities that would take place prior to the Second Coming the Lord admonished His disciples to ‘be not troubled’-why-because the promises which He had made would be kept.
What promises? These are given later in the same revelation.
To the Jews: -
before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon
be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven. And the remnant (of the
Jews) shall be gathered unto this place (
To the Saints: -
upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches
unto me. And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye
may purchase an inheritance, which shall hereafter be appointed unto you. And
it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a
place of safety for the saints of the most High God; And the glory of the Lord
shall be there, and the terror of the lord also shall be there, insomuch that
the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. And it shall
come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword
against his neighbour must
needs flee unto
Notes: - there will be …an overflowing scourge….a desolating sickness…..earthquakes and many desolations…men will kill one another….As a result “every man that will not take his sword against his neighbour must needs flee unto Zion for safety”
would not be possible for the saints to escape these calamities whilst living
amongst the wicked they would need to establish
Can we now answer the question “what does it mean to stand in holy places?” on a more scriptural basis.
the above scriptures indicate the holy places are
This is in accord with all other scriptures on the same subject. For example: -
therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour. Let them, therefore, who
are among the Gentiles flee unto
Study the document “How the Saints will be Preserved in the Last Days”
President Marion G. Romney gave a general conference address based on the above quoted D&C 45:35 entitled “Be Not Troubled”. After quoting the above scriptures he states: -
hope we are all familiar with these words of the Lord and with his predictions
concerning other coming events, such as the building of the New Jerusalem and
the redemption of the old, the return of Enoch’s
Not only do I hope that we are familiar with these events; I hope also that we keep the vision of them continually before our minds. This I do because upon knowledge of them, and an assurance of their reality and a witness that each of us may have part there in, rests the efficacy of Christ’s admonition, “be not troubled”.
has always been faith in a lofty goal and confidence that it
may be that have held people on the rugged course to high attainment. It
was the assurance that they could obtain the land flowing with “milk and
honey”, that held Moses to the task of leading
If we are to remain on course through the stresses of the rising storm, it is imperative that we have a similar sustaining and motivating goal. The Lord has given us no reason to think it will be easy to stay on course. As a matter of fact, he said that deception would become so persuasive that if it were possible, the very elect shall be deceived
Neither has he promised that the impending calamities will be miraculously turned aside nor that through the wisdom of men they are be averted. They are upon us because men have refused to be lead by the living God. Generally speaking, men have rejected him and have chosen to put their trust in their own wisdom. In this they have made a terrible and tragic mistake. All history vindicates, and coming events will vindicate the prophet’s statement, “Cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh” (2nd Nephi 34:34).
See Oct 1966 General Conference.
“Behold, it is my will that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places and prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.”
Again we need to examine this revelation section 101 as a whole to understand what is meant by ‘gather together and stand in holy places’ in preparation for the Second Coming.
Doctrine and Covenants section 101: -
- “Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations;
and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full. And in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower, or in other words, all
to stand in Holy Places is explained in this scripture. When the fulness of
iniquity is reached the wrath of God will descend upon the nations. In that day
Study the document “The Fulness of Iniquity brings the Wrath of God”
- “Therefore let your hearts be comforted concerning
the Lord explains that although the saints have been scattered (see also
v13-14) there is no need to worry about
and a parable are then given to admonish the Saints not to be slothful in
hearkening unto the commandments concerning
The Lord then details what the church should specifically do when the time arrives to keep the commandment to stand in Holy Places: -
V 63-67: - “I will show unto you wisdom in me concerning all the churches, inasmuch as they are willing to be guided in a right and proper way for their salvation-that the work of the gathering together of my saints may continue, that I may build them up unto my name upon holy places, and my word must needs be fulfilled.
Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares……Therefore, a commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together unto the places which I have appointed….let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you.
And in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandment which I have given concerning these things-which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints; all the land which can be purchased in Jackson County and the counties round about…and the churches in the Eastern countries, when they are built up, if they will hearken unto this counsel they may buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion.
There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name’ willing to hearken to my voice.”
Having now examined this revelation in more detail instead of isolating one phrase we can answer the question without hesitation: -What does it mean to stand in holy places?
“Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen”
Details in other parts of the revelation explain why we need to ‘stand in holy places’: -
“And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place……..And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and the indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations; that the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth…” D&C 87:2, 6-7
This is similar to other scriptures on the same subject for example: -
“I, the Lord, am angry with the wicked; I am holding my Spirit from the inhabitants of the earth. I have sworn in my wrath, and decreed wars upon the face of the earth, and the wicked shall slay the wicked, and fear shall come upon every man; and the saints shall also hardly escape….and behold, this is not yet, but by and by. Wherefore, seeing that I, the lord, have decreed all these things upon the face of the earth, I will that my saints should be assembled upon the land of Zion and that every man should….declare both by word and by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked.” D&C 63:32-37
The only conclusion that can be reached when the above scriptures are put in context is that to ‘stand in holy places’ is to stand upon the land of Zion in order to escape the promised desolations.
Is this what is meant by “stand in holy places”- our chapels and homes
following extract is taken from the section “The
Tragedy of the Saints in
Elder Frederick W.Babbel who accompanied Elder Benson to Europe and formerly served as a secretary to the European mission for fourteen tears recalled in General Conference April 1947: -
wish that you could realize some of the sufferings of the Saints in
have suffered much, my brethren and sisters. You heard President Clark read a
letter here on Friday from President Walter Stover in
Nearly all meetinghouses had been destroyed. Many branches were meeting in the homes of the relatively few members who still could claim a home of their own…”
End of quote
Latter-Day –Saints suffer with the rest of society as they live amongst the wicked when calamities such as wars and earthquakes occur even though they may have righteous homes and attend chapels and temples to worship God.
Additional scripture references in respect of “stand in holy places”
the next conference, which shall be held in
according to the covenant.” D&C 52:2 (See also D&C 103:35; 105:15; 84:2-3.)
This is a further illustration how the scriptures which include the phrase “stand in holy places” can be taken out of context
Lesson 36 Isaiah chapter’s 1-6
Extracts from the Gospel Doctrine Manual: -
“Purpose: - encourage class members to avoid the evils of the world by standing in holy places”
Quotes D&C 45:32; 87:8; 101:22 and the teacher is to write on the blackboard: -
“Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved”.
“Answers may include, being worthy at all times; desiring to be in holy places frequently, choosing not to go into unholy places, having confidence that God will guide you, and taking a stand for truth and holiness.”
“Class members will discover why the Lord has commanded us to stand in holy places and what these places are”
“Isaiah counsels the faithful to stand in holy places.”
“What places offer safety from the worldly conditions mentioned by Isaiah 4:5-6
dwelling place of
Assemblies-suggested answer-stakes, wards, and branches
Tabernacle- suggested answer-temples
The teacher is to ask the following questions: -
How can a home be a holy place and offer refuge from the wickedness of the world?
How can stakes, wards, and branches be holy places and refuges?
How can a temple be a holy place and refuge?
How have these three holy places helped provide a defence for you from the evils of the world?
“Write ‘stand in holy places’ on the chalkboard (again?) And then write below it
Homes 2 Stakes, wards, and Branches; and 3.
List class member’s comments under each heading”
“What expressions are used in Isaiah 4:5-6 to describe how these holy places (i.e. Homes stakes, wards, and temples) will protect us?
“A shadow in the daytime from the heat”
“A place of refuge”
“A covert (a hiding place or shelter) from storm and from rain”
“What prophecy about temples in the last days is included in Isaiah 2:2-3?
Suggested answer-many people will come to the house of God, which is the temple, and desire to learn God’s commandments and walk in His ways)
“Why do you think Isaiah described the temple as a ‘mountain of the Lord’?”
describes the gathering of
5:26-29, Isaiah describes the latter-day gathering of
“Question- how is the prophecy that nations will be gathered to the Church being fulfilled today? Suggested answer- missionaries are going throughout the world to teach the gospel and gather people to the truth.”
END OF QUOTE FROM MANUAL
In answer to the implied meaning given to the scriptural references in the above lesson based on Isaiah chapters 1-6
lesson first refers to D&C 45:32; 87:8; 101:22. These scriptures are
exactly the same as those explained in detail from Doctrine and Covenants
lesson mentioned above. The only conclusion that could be reached is ‘to stand
in holy places’ refers to the New Jerusalem and the
These scriptures in Isaiah which are being applied to mean to our homes, ward, stakes, and temples in the world today are clearly being taken out of context.
This whole chapter as the heading indicates is referring to the millennial day.
For example verse 3-4 states: -
it shall come to pass, that he that is left in
Note the footnote to verse 4: (a) “IE When the lord has cleansed the earth he will set up His dwelling and His protective presence here (See 5-6)”
V5-6: - “And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory (of Zion) shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain”
These verses list the protective measures the Lord will set up during the Millennium.
How can we therefore in honesty try to apply these scriptures to our homes, wards stakes, and temples today? This is totally taking these scriptures out of context. We realize that our homes, chapels, and temples offer a sanctuary from the evils of the world today but they are not what Isaiah was referring to in these passages of scripture,
The questions in the manual reads: -
“What prophecy about temples in the last days is included in Isaiah 2:2-3?” and “Why do you think Isaiah described the temple as a ‘mountain of the Lord’?”
2:2-3: - “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the
Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be
exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people
shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the lord, to the
house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of His ways, and we will walk
in his paths: for out of
Note: - In the Book of Mormon when Nephi quotes the same scripture from Isaiah he uses the word ‘when’ the mountain of the Lord instead of ‘that’ as in the K J V of the Bible, See 2 Nephi 12:2
Isaiah identifies in the same verses when the mountain of the Lord’s will be established:
“…..And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” Isaiah 2:3-4.
This is therefore referring to the millennium. This therefore has not yet been fulfilled; and therefore the mountain of the Lord has not yet been established.
In the Heading to D&C Section 57: - The Prophet exclaims in yearning prayer: -
Subsequently he received the following revelation: -
the temple that is mentioned by Isaiah is the same temple referred by the Lord
to the Prophet Joseph; the great temple that will be built in independence
Additional scriptures and statements which throw light on where the mountain of the lord is located:
let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto
D&C 133 12-13 (See V 9)
not room enough on the mountains of Adam-ondi-Ahman…therefore, come up hither
unto the land of my people, even
The Prophet Joseph taught: -
it is the
of the phrase the ‘Mountain of the Lord’ is referring to
It is important to realize that the most widely accepted interpretation by Gospel Scholars on the book of Isaiah for the word ‘mountain’ is ‘kingdom’ or ‘nation’ or ‘city’ or even ‘the dwelling place of the lord’.
As we substitute for example the word city or place of the Lord for mountain these passages become much easier to understand.
Isaiah did not describe the temple as a ‘mountain of the Lord’ but that the temple would be located in a ‘city’ of the Lord
Additional examples of the use of the word mountain by the Prophets: -
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9
saith the Lord; I am returned unto
Lord also shall roar out of
It is clear from the above scriptures
that the mountain of the Lord is
Elder Alvin R. Dyer, counsellor to the First Presidency stated: -
the final gathering of the saints, in the due time of the Lord, declared by the
Prophet Joseph Smith as not many years hence, shall have been accomplished, it will centre at Independence, in Jackson
County, Missouri, called by the Lord the “Centre place”, for there will be the
mountain of the Lord’s house.” From this centre “the law shall go forth from
December, 1830, the lord began the announcements of his appearance in the
“And for the purpose of the purchasing of lands for the public benefit of the Church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the new Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed-That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people.” D&C 42:35-36
Here the Lord shall establish his earth headquarters, his dwelling place on earth, and thus the mountain of the Lord’s house, to be exalted above all other kingdoms, houses, or mountains of men, shall be established. From this central point, the temple of the New Jerusalem, shall go forth the law, to govern all of mankind upon the earth in that time of the millennial reign of Christ.” (See Micah 4:1-2) Refiners Fire pages 101-102
Note: - concerning “in the top of the mountains” Dummelow in his Bible commentary states the meaning of this as “at the head”. This is symbolic to the fact the Lord’s house shall be at the head or above all other ‘houses’, kingdoms, cities etc that are upon the earth.
manual states: - “Isaiah describes the latter-day gathering of
Is this correct? Let us examine other scriptures on the same topic.
“And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly” Isaiah
What does modern revelation state the ensign mentioned by Isaiah to be:-
“For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her; and she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven and the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it” D&C 64:41-43
scripture ties in with another revelation on
there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall
be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be
said among the wicked; Let us not go up to battle against
answer is clear. The Ensign referred to is
as the church is a preparation for
Compare also Isaiah 1:19-20 with D&C 64:34-35
First- it is hoped that our homes, wards, stakes and temples will all be places of righteousness, which are free from the evils of the world.
Second- the organisation of the
Church serves as a preparation for the establishment of
Hugh Nibley puts it this way: -
Church is a trial run for
should not apply scriptures that have reference to
the following scriptures indicate the church is a preparation for
“…In preparing the churches to keep the
commandments which I have given unto them concerning the restoration and
“And the churches in the Eastern countries, when they are built up, if they hearken unto this counsel they may buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion” D&C101: 74
“Yea I will open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you, and I will establish a church by your hand; and you shall strengthen them and prepare them against the time when they shall be gathered.” D&C 31:7-8. (See also D&C 58:48-53)
“And inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in every region-until the time shall come when it shall be revealed unto you from on high, when the city of the New Jerusalem shall be prepared, that ye may be gathered in one, that ye may be my people and I will be your God” D&C 42:8-9
The elders are to “…call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me, and with one heart and one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem…. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.” D&C 45:64-66, 69 extracts only.
As these scriptures plainly teach the
church is established to restore the Lord’s people to the Gospel-the principles
of salvation- in preparation for the gathering to
“Yea the word of the Lord concerning His church, established in the last days for (1) The restoration of His people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for (2) the gathering of saints to stand upon mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.”
“But if they (the Gentiles) will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance; and they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem…Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance. And they shall go out from all nations; they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight for I will go before them.”
3 NEPHI 21:22-24, 28-29. (See 3 Nephi 16:16)
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